The rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the corresponding website was riddled with problems and confusion. According to a recent poll performed by LIMRA, the majority of Americans sought professional assistance while trying to make sense of the exchange.
The survey revealed that approximately 60% of respondents who used the federal or state-based exchanges required help in order to enroll or buy a policy. Additionally, close to 50% of those who had yet to shop for insurance believed they would also need assistance.
"The highly publicized technical challenges experienced by the online exchanges influenced some Americans' views on the level of help they will need and deterred others from shopping and purchasing health insurance at all," said Yuliya Babushinka, senior analyst at LIMRA. "Our study found that more than a quarter of the targeted market—uninsured consumers—said they did not plan to shop at the exchanges, citing cost as the number one reason."
Lack of familiarity common reason for not shopping
Roughly 20% of the uninsured respondents who said they wouldn't be using the exchange websites cited a perceived unfamiliarity with the marketplaces as the reason for their inaction. Additionally, of these, one in five said that they didn't need to use the website because they had another resource for buying or shopping for health insurance.
Babushinka pointed out that many of those who sought assistance through the exchanges already had coverage.
"We believe those who have experience with health insurance better recognize the nuances within health insurance and are more interested to ensure the plan they choose offers the best value and coverage," said Babushinka. "In addition, uninsured individuals, who often are the least knowledgeable about how health insurance works—including such cost considerations as deductible and plan coverage—may not recognize how much help they may need."